Mayor's Corner: The soul of our city

Dear Downey Family and Friends,

After reading a series of articles about our City recently, I did ask myself several questions. Why is Downey such a special place and why does our City continue to thrive when others do not? There are so many reasons why you, and I, have chosen Downey to be our home. I believe the Soul of the City consists of many things...

The true soul of our City is made up of 111,000 extraordinary individuals that make up a diverse community. A diverse community with a small-town friendliness. Quality residential neighborhoods and engaging civic life...the Soul of our City.

Distinguished Downey Unified School District, with high graduation rates and great test scores. Well led and fiscally sound. Highest paid teachers in the entire County...the Soul of our City.

Rich aerospace history, home to the Apollo Space modules and Space Shuttle program. The Columbia Memorial Space Center, a living tribute to the Columbia astronauts and the Space Shuttle Columbia. Honoring America's space explorers and Downey's significant role in the American Space Program. Teaching our youth science, engineering, math and robotics helps prepare them for the future...the Soul of our City.

First Taco Bell restaurant, oldest McDonalds, home to the largest Coca-Cola bottling facility in the world, our history...the Soul of our City. A Character Counts City. Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship...the Soul of our City.

The heart of our City is made up of our fine Downey Police and Fire Departments. Providing excellent public safety. They protect us and keep us safe. They have great response times and continue to lower crime. They make up an important part of our soul.

I see the Soul of the City reflected in our vibrant Downtown area. Award-winning Downtown Specific Plan, fully revitalized, fully reenergized and on the move.

There is a reason why so many are opening business in our downtown...the Soul of our City. Strong retail base (sales taxes are up and more to come ) with quality housing.

Centralized location, quality infrastructure, top medical facilities, business-oriented community and a stable local government...the Soul of our City.

Conservative and fiscally responsible with balanced budget, recognized for its outstanding credit rating...the Soul of our City.

I see our City through the emergence of a vibrant and young arts community that recently sold out a great play called "Defying Gravity," which I attended and loved.

I see Make Music Downey and all those amazing volunteers that made it happen as a big part of the Soul of our City. I see great young artists and energy from Stay Gallery Downey. I see the emergence of the Downey Museum of Art and I am happy that we are showcasing an art work every month through the Mayor's Monthly pick. It is a start and brings attention to the potential. I see our schools still being introduced to amazing music through the Downey Symphony. A lot of things going on, a lot more to come.

Civic engagement...92 churches and 14 service organizations, amazing spirit of volunteerism, Keep Downey Beautiful, graffiti hotline, G.O.O.D, youth leagues for every sport, and an awesome Downey YMCA....the Soul of our City.

With a business-friendly attitude that has helped create over 8000 new jobs in the past four years, and with the lowest unemployment rates of any City in the 26 City Gateway area that has a working population of over 50,000, we truly know where our soul is.

With one of the largest developments in all of Los Angeles County, our 77-acre The Promenade at Downey, has created 3,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. Many in the higher paid medical field....Any City would be proud of having this as part of their Soul and so are we.

A healthy and vibrant Downey...focusing on health and nutrition. Healthy Downey is a way of life, a path to attaining healthy lifestyles and wellness for our next is the Soul of our City.

I know we are not perfect and we have issues that we deal with every single day. But we are a true example of goodness, of a City that has continued to strive for excellence and does not let negativity get in the way of progress. We have an amazing soul that is alive and vibrant. A City that leads by example, a City with a shining past and bright future.

A City with an indescribable essence of community. Celebrating 140 years since being founded by Governor John Gately Downey, and 60 years after incorporation, Downey remains a special place. Ensuring public safety, encouraging economic growth, supporting environmental responsibility. Downey...a true All America City.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. You may reach me on my personal cell number at (562) 706-4114 or email me at

All my best, God bless. Mayor Mario A. Guerra

********** Published: Oct. 3, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 25